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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by William A. Kolb

Thursday, May 21

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.
—Luke 4:18

Captives, blind people, those who are oppressed. These are the vulnerable who are promised rescue by God in the writings of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. It is those writings from which Jesus quotes when he reads aloud in the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth.

Then, when he is finished reading, he says, astonishingly, that by reading the words, they have been fulfilled. To my thinking that means that Jesus is the One who will be carrying out God's wishes to relieve the suffering of captives, of the blind and of those who are oppressed.

But they are not the only ones who are liberated. Many of us are captive, though we are not in a literal jail or prison. There are those who are captive of a drug habit. There are captives of alcohol, captives of jealousy or an uncontrollable temper. All these captives are promised relief and comfort.

There are many of us who are blind but whose eyes still work normally. We may be blind to our own shortcomings, or the shortcomings of a loved one, that need to be addressed. We may be blind to how we are hurting those around us. Blindness is one of Jesus' chief concerns and physical blindness is only one form of it. All of us who are blind in any way are promised relief and comfort.

And there are many of us who are oppressed. Our lives will inevitably include times, situations and sometimes people who are oppressive. An awareness of God's presence can strengthen us, give us perspective and lift the cloud of darkness from around us.

Through prayer, seeking counsel from a caring person, reading scripture and public worship, we can become more aware of God's power to help us.

God proclaims that He will help us. We are his precious children and He cares deeply about us and our spiritual prisons. Turn to Him; He waits.

Thank you, Lord, for your compassion and lovingkindness; I know that you are always there for me. Amen.

This Signpost originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.